The Competition Bureau, in conjunction with the Better Business Bureau, Quebec-based consumers group Option consommateurs and other fraud-prevention partners announced Wednesday the top 10 fraud scams targeting Canadians in 2016.
In terms of the number of complaints received, the hit list is as follows:
This was the most reported scam to BBB Scam Tracker. Chances are you didn't apply for a job you can do from home, much less get an interview. A cheque-cashing scheme that is simply too good to be true.
Advice: Do research on any company before accepting a position; ignore a company that asks you to deposit a cheque.
Canadians give away a lot of money as they give away their hearts to Catphishers. Catphishing is when a fraudster fakes an identity and tricks someone via dating sites into a phony emotional or romantic relationship for financial gain.
Advice: Do not wire money to someone you've never met.
Scammers steal a person's identity to secure credit cards, bank loans and even rent property in that name.
Advice: Never carry your SIN with you; change online passwords regularly.
Paying an up-front fee to get a loan is illegal in Canada and the United States. These scammers prey on those who don't qualify for loans through reputable lenders.
Advice: Seek alternative finance options.
Scammers have new online avenues to take your money and trust.
Counterfeit merchandise, goods that never show up, fake websites and free trial traps are everywhere.
Advice: Shop on legitimate websites; use third party payment portals such as PayPal.
Spearphishing is a big problem for the business community. Millions are lost when scammers pose as company brass and demand money be wired to a fake company email.
Advice: Create payment redundancies in your organization; be vigilant on any incoming emails.
Big promises of low-risk, high returns, and full refunds entice Canadians to take a chance. It's really just an unregulated 50/50 bet and not investment at all. They delay any winnings, if you win at all, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Advice: Understand high risk is involved; seek professional investment advice.
If you didn't enter, you didn't win. Calls come in at all hours telling you you've won a big lottery. You just need to pay a tax or insurance fee before you get your millions. It's way too good to be true.
Advice: You do not have to pay to receive lottery winnings; contact the corporation directly.
While the scam is still being reported, a crackdown on a call centre in India in 2016 has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of calls targeting Canadians.
Advice: The Canada Revenue Agency does not make threatening phone calls; the CRA does not request information by phone or by email.
Consumers are often enticed to purchase a product or service based on reviews by social media influencers. Unfortunately, these reviews may not be genuine and the influencer may have been paid by a company to be used as a marketing tool.
Advice: Take everything you read online with a grain of salt, says the Better Business Bureau.